§ The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham)
My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.
This Motion is consequential on the enactment of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 and on the arrangements to which your Lordships have already agreed for scrutinising deregulation orders laid under the Act. Your Lordships will recall that it was agreed that the functions of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments in relation to deregulation orders should be given to the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee. The terms of reference of that committee already incorporate the necessary provision. The effect of this Motion will be to exclude deregulation orders from the remit of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. An equivalent amendment to the joint committee's terms of reference has already been made in another place.
§ Moved, That the Order of Reference of the Statutory Instruments Committee be amended by inserting at the end of paragraph (1) "and any draft order proposed to be made under Section 1 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994".—(The Chairman of Committees.)
§ Lord Monkswell
My Lords, I welcome the Motion, but I wonder whether I may take the opportunity to ask the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees a question about it. I must apologise for not having alerted him to this previously, and it may be that he cannot give an answer directly. However, I think that it may be for the convenience of the House if the noble Lord could advise the House on how Members of the House will be able to identify those orders which are drafted and laid under the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. How will we be able to distinguish those orders from other 321 orders and statutory instruments, bearing in mind that the Minutes at the moment identify those orders which are laid and require an affirmative decision of the House and those which are laid and require the negative procedure? Obviously the orders that we are considering under this Motion are different from those. I wonder whether the powers that be have considered how the new orders will be flagged up and identified to Members of your Lordships' House.
§ Lord Skelmersdale
My Lords, before the noble Lord answers that point, perhaps I may say, as a Member of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, how much I welcome this Motion. The joint committee deals with some 3,000 statutory instruments a year. The idea of having what one might call the "double jeopardy" of two committees of the two Houses considering orders under the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act fills me with total horror, so I congratulate the House authorities, led by the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees, on the Motion.
§ The Chairman of Committees
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, for his intervention. He has considerable experience of such matters in your Lordships' House.
Turning to the issue raised by the noble Lord, Lord Monkswell, the first point to bear in mind is that when the documents first go before the Select Committee, the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee, they are not yet orders; they are proposals only. I am happy to say that I am this very day able to give the noble Lord an example of the way in which the provisions will come to the notice of your Lordships. Indeed, I am grateful to have this information. The Minutes of Proceedings which came out this morning contain a reference to one such document which arrived only yesterday. When that document has been before the Select Committee it will then become an order. To illustrate that point, perhaps I may mention particularly Item 11 in the Minutes which states:The following document was laid before Parliament under section 3(3) of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 and referred to the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee".It then refers to the proposal for the Draft Deregulation (Greyhound Racing) Order 1995.
§ I commend the Motion to the House.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and a Message was sent to the Commons to acquaint them therewith.